Norm is a children’s book by Sylvia Liang that celebrates what’s normal… or maybe not. Depending on how you define normal, that is. Normal, or Norm for short is a little boy that measure everything around him. Together with his friends, Plain and Simple, they make sure everything stays just the way they like it—the same. One day, they meet Oddette, and she’s a little odd. Oddette introduces Norm and his friends to new people and experiences that can’t be ‘measured’ and this makes them a bit uncomfortable at first. But soon, they realise that the oddities of their new discoveries are what they like most of all.
Norm, Plain, Simple and Odette
Norm aims to deliver an essential message to readers, young and old. Today, we live in a time where ‘normal’ has been pre-defined and enforced from a very young age. We sometimes forget that there is a big wide world out there waiting for us to explore. Not being able to ‘measure’ a situation or a person and accept differences limits this exploration.
Children, in particular, thrive in a routine and familiar environment to feel safe. But, they are continuously having to encounter new people, experience, feelings and more. These changes are often met with lots of sulking, tears and tantrums. Some might say, even Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs might have to take a back seat here.
These experiences are all part and parcel of life and like it or not, we can’t take it all away. But, we can choose to help them through it. That is where this children’s book carries a simple but powerful message, easy for a child to understand and identify with the characters. The story has a good flow which ends with them discovering and most importantly, accepting that there are many different types of people that are different from themselves. While our little ones are busy exploring the world, this book help teaches them individuality and acceptance about different people, culture and beliefs. An important lesson that is never too early to learn, especially as global citizens.